Hi everyone! I was admitted to UC Berkeley early through the Regent's and Chancellor's Scholarship Program, but I decided to attend UCLA at the time. However, later in the summer, I realized that I would much rather attend UC Berkeley instead (for several reasons that I have thought through carefully). I have two choices at this point, since I cannot change my SIR to UC Berkeley at this time:
1. Go to UCLA for 1-2 years and then transfer. I can transfer after one year (with a certain major that I would unfortunately have to choose earlier than most people) because I have over 50 AP credits and would qualify as a junior transfer by the spring after applications are due. I could also transfer after two years, and have to wait longer, but allow myself time to figure out which major I would like to apply under. However, I have heard it is quite difficult to transfer between UC's, and that I would be considered last after community college and CSU transfers. I would also be against people from four-year universities, and I might not stand out as much as my high school application would. The risk of going to UCLA is therefore not being able to transfer, and staying at UCLA for four years, which is something I would rather not do.
2. Take a gap year and reapply again this fall. This wouldn't give me the risk of going to UCLA for four years if I don't get in as a transfer, and it would allow me to use my strong high school application again, but it has risk attached as well. First, I don't have anything planned for a gap year, although I know two viable options would be working two jobs and traveling (those who know about gap years: are those considered "good ways" to spend a gap year by UC Berkeley Admissions?). Second, I am not guaranteed admission, even if I got in early to UC Berkeley this spring.
So, my main question for people that know and understand UC Berkeley Admissions is: what do you think is a greater risk? Applying as a transfer and possibly not getting in and having to stay at UCLA for four years? Or taking a gap year and hoping that I'll get in because I got in early this spring, although I could not get in after all? Is there a greater chance that I would get in as a freshman or a transfer? What would you do in this situation? I would really like concrete answers that would help me with this difficult choice and that would help me attend UC Berkeley as soon as possible. I would really like to know that in some way, one decision that I made incorrectly will not in the long run affect my college career.
Also, I would love to hear from anyone who has been in this same situation before, and how you decided to deal with it.
Thanks so much!